Row By Row Episode 101: Till vs. No Till Gardening

Benefits of No Till Gardening

No-till gardening can have its advantages and disadvantages, and as Greg put it in this week’s episode, it would work out great in a perfect world. Though Greg nor Travis use this Back to Eden style gardening, they discussed the benefits it may have. The first one they discussed was how no-till gardening builds up the earthworm population that could then lead to natural aeration and drainage. The second benefit is that it can save water, the reason behind this is because if you have some mulch covering your garden, you are going to have less evaporation. The third benefit of no-till gardening is that it helps soil retain carbon. Retaining the carbon is an undeniable benefit of no-till gardening because as you cultivate the soil, you can smell the carbon in the atmosphere. Many other bloggers say that no-till gardening also saves time and energy as well as reduces the need to weed. Travis and Greg both disagreed when they compared it to their gardens in which they do. They disagreed because of the fact you have to plant by hand if you don’t cultivate your soil, and no-tilling also appears to add weed pressure.

Benefits of Tilling a Garden

After explaining the benefits of not cultivating your soil Travis and Greg went on to explain the reasons they choose to do so. The first reason was how they saw fewer weeds with tilling, and if they did have weeds, it was easier to get rid of them. The second reason is that it provides oxygen to the soil, cultivating that plot is going to remove that crust and aerate that soil. Another benefit of tilling is that when you are adding compost or manure, it works better if it is integrated within the soil, really getting it mixed within. With tilling, you also don’t have to plant everything by hand, but instead, you can go in there with a seeder since you don’t have wood chips or another type of mulch over the beds. One last benefit is that with tilling, you can turn-over your beds a lot quicker, and here in South Georgia, this is very important. Down here, we are turning beds over every 30-50 days meaning that to get the most efficient production tilling works best for us.

So Which One is Better? Till or No Till Gardening

Overall, deciding which method of gardening is all about knowing your climate, the scale of your garden, and the resources you will have at hand. Resources and the size of your garden will differ with every gardener, so there is no right or wrong. We all want to be good stewards of our soil, and if we are growing our food, we are doing just that.

Show and Tell Segment

Exciting things happened in this week’s show and tell segment as we discussed a surprise Greg had show up in his garden for his 55th birthday. Greg then shared one of his favorite Mrs.Hoss recipes for the Calypso Cucumber. The procedure insisted on cutting the cucumbers up long ways, putting them in a zip lock bag, and adding some dill, elephant garlic, and salt. Then let it sit overnight, and they will be delicious come morning. Travis then explained an exciting competition that is taking place now until July 31st between Hoss Tools and some fellow gardening channels that will all be trying to grow the biggest American Giant Sunflower. There may even be some friendly father-son competition.

Viewer Questions Segment

This week’s viewer questions answered a wide array of problems. One focus was on squash plants and if Travis and Greg thought they were better grown through transplants or direct seed. After a great fall winter squash harvest Travis had through transplants, he discussed how he might even do that with his summer squash though they germinate fine with just a seed. Another question centered around squash bugs and how to get rid of them without any chemicals, a tip was shared about using duct tape to remove them manually. One viewer than asked what do they do in regards to weeds, use the “Chop and Drop” method, or do they burn them? It all just depends on the type of weed. If a certain weed seed quickly, then it is best to get that thing out of there. Our last question asked about the multiplying of onions and what kind of permanent bed to use. Greg explained that he is running trials with that currently and that he is still learning something new every day, even as many years as he has been gardening.

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